Confidence remains an extremely important trait for today’s business leaders. Leaders who do not display confidence may find that their colleagues and subordinates may begin to doubt their leadership ability. Employees understand that no one is perfect and will forgive a leader who makes a mistake and then recognizes and rectifies it. However, a leader who seems unable to make a decision can make employees feel uneasy.
Stagnation can cause a company to fail, yet change is something that requires confidence from leadership. In this sense, confidence is almost contagious. A confident leader results in an emboldened workforce that believes in the potential of the project. But confidence is not a trait that is easy to cultivate. The following are some helpful hints for leaders who want to become more confident:
Continue to pursue educational opportunities.
Those who lack knowledge will also struggle with confidence. When people strive to learn as much as possible about a subject, they become much more confident in making decisions. Educational opportunities are not limited to the classroom. Business leaders should dedicate significant time to learning about their industry and competitors so that they feel more comfortable making major decisions. In addition, they might consider a mentorship, which can be thought of as a form of education in how to weigh the options and make the best decision possible. At the same time, it is important not to forget about traditional routes to learning, such as picking up new books related to the industry and working through them.
Understand that failure is not linked to shame.
Business leaders have a responsibility to instill in their company a positive attitude toward failure. But they cannot do this if they do not understand that failure is a human process. Everyone fails. The only problem with failing is not deriving anything to learn from the experience. Every failure teaches us an important lesson so that we can perform better in the future. With this in mind, leaders can act with more confidence. Furthermore, making this belief part of the workplace culture means that leaders never have to be afraid of admitting failure.
Avoid comparisons with other people.
When business leaders compare themselves to other accomplished individuals, their confidence can quickly wither, as they may begin to discount the things that they have accomplished while inflating what other people have done. This can lead to feelings of inferiority as well as a spiral of doubt that can destroy self-confidence. Instead, they need to focus on their own goals and that of the company. While a lot can be learned from examining other people’s accomplishments, direct comparisons generally prove more destructive than constructive.
Avoid becoming overly confident.
The benefits of confidence have their limits. When leaders become overconfident, they can start making rash decisions that lead the company in a bad direction. Confidence always needs to be balanced with humility. While consecutive successes can boost confidence, that does not mean that future assessments will be perfect as well. People who remain humble always consider that their assessments could be wrong without succumbing to self-doubt.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
Confidence grows when we hear from other people that they support us and trust our professional decisions. Leaders should have a list of the professional partners that they trust and who, in turn, trusts them. Then, whenever leaders experience self-doubt, they can call on one of these supporters to gain some input and become more confident.
However, support does not mean giving only praise and positive feedback. A true supporter will have some constructive feedback that leaders can use to become even better in their positions. Finally, it’s important to note that leaders should avoid developing relationships with negative people who do not provide constructive feedback.
Project an air of courage with employees.
Leaders should understand that many people who project confidence or come across as courageous are not quite as certain as they seem. A leader’s outward persona has an important bearing on how they are perceived by employees. Leaders who feel like they need to be more confident should strive to appear that way in front of their subordinates, even if they feel not-so-confident on the inside. People are hardwired to read into body language, and employees can be discouraged when they pick up on a lack of confidence from their leaders. Those who project confidence will hearten their employees and make them feel more optimistic.
Implement new lessons in the real world.
A lack of confidence is often tied to a sense of powerlessness. Leaders can regain their sense of power by implementing their knowledge and seeing the expected results. Too often, leaders forget the control that they have over a company because they forget about the business tactics that they have learned. Applying these lessons and seeing the expected results restores confidence and shows individuals that they do have the intelligence and skills they need to be a leader. Moreover, applying these lessons is like practice, and through practice, leaders learn which skills are in their portfolio and become more adept at using them when the time is right.